News | Published August 24 2019

New withdrawal agreement must offer more than no backstop, Brexiteers warn

Pro-Brexit Conservative MPs have warned the prime minister that a new withdrawal agreement with the EU may still fail to pass through parliament if it only manages to remove the controversial Irish backstop.

Former Brexit secretary David Davis told The Telegraph’s Chopper’s Brexit Podcast that Johnson may also need to withhold part of the £39 billion divorce bill to the EU and agree a cut-off point for the European Court of Justice’s influence over the UK to force MPs to rally around a new deal.

According to a Telegraph source, 25 Labour MPs are ready to vote with the government on a new Brexit deal as a one-off to avoid no-deal on October 31, so the onus is now on Johnson to get a new draft withdrawal agreement  to win over the opposition.

As it stands under the draft withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May, £10 billion will be paid upon exiting the EU with the other £20 billion due when the future agreement was completed after the period of transition.

Davis said: “I’d argue for contingency on the money. I’d argue for tighter limits, timetable limits, sunset clauses on the European Court of Justice and things like that.

“I’d have a small shopping list. It wouldn’t be a ridiculous one, but one I think that any serious European Parliament and any European Council that wants a deal could go with.

“If I were doing this for Boris, I would be insistent on making the bill…the second half of it, contingent on progress on the future economic partnership”.

Johnson has previously singled out removing the backstop as the key in getting a new deal through the Commons and finalising an orderly Brexit for October 31.

The prime minister met with EU leaders over the course of the week and wrote to European Council president Donald Tusk expressing his confidence that “Parliament would be able to act rapidly if we were able to reach a satisfactory agreement which did not contain the backstop”.

However, Davis appears to have poured cold water on this idea.

Davis added: “We should have in place a future economic partnership, or the bones of it anyway, so that we can carry on with free trade arrangements beyond that before we pay the next £20 billion”.

Sir Bill Cash, chair of the European Scrutiny select committee, also said: “You can’t restore self-government as a cut and paste operation and I am sure they understand that, taking parts of the withdrawal agreement.

“We will be governed for a number of years by the other 27 member states under the existing draft withdrawal agreement, even with the backstop removed.”

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Authored by

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
August 24 2019

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